2016 was a monumental year for state sovereignty regarding marijuana regulation. A total of nine states voted on marijuana reforms, with five deciding whether to legalize recreational use. Among them, Massachusetts voters came together in a display of democracy to end their decades long prohibition on recreational marijuana possession, distribution, and cultivation with a “Yes” on Question 4. By doing so, Massachusetts, as well as California, Alaska, and Nevada, joined the four other states in the Union to have legalized recreational marijuana, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Oregon, and Washington. As Massachusetts implements their marijuana reform, law enforcement faces a familiar but problematic dilemma. Question 4 legalized the personal cultivation of twelve marijuana plants in a home, but limited processing to six mature plants. Law enforcement is now presented with the question: what is sufficient probable cause to obtain a search warrant for illegal marijuana cultivation in Massachusetts in light of Question 4?
Jacob T. Winniman, MARIJUANA/CONSTITUTIONAL LAW—STATE BALLOT REFORMS 2016: THE RAMIFICATIONS ON PROBABLE CAUSE IN MASSACHUSETTS WITH LEGAL MARIJUANA CULTIVATION IN THE HOME, 40 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 363 (2018), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol40/iss2/7